Domestic relations bill wins subcommittee support

The TBA-backed domestic relations bill that carries several revisions proposed by the Family Law Section won support from the House Children and Family Affairs' Domestic Relations Subcommittee today. The bill (SB0942/HB2098) had earlier won unanimous passage in the Senate. Another bill before the Domestic Relations Subcommittee that would have mandated the splitting of child custody between divorcing parents, failed to move for lack of a second. The TBA has opposed this type of legislation, believing children could suffer through the difficulty brought about by splitting the child's time into equal parts, especially if the parents don't live in the same area or school zone.

On Monday, the TBA-backed construction lien law rewrite (SB2031/HB1879) passed out of the House on a unanimous 98-0 vote. The bill also had earlier cleared the Senate.
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Howard H. Vogel
Knoxville, Tennessee
Editor-in-Chief, TBALink


Court: TCA


Edward T. Brading, Johnson City, Tennessee, for the Appellants, James W. Sell and Carolyn R. Sell

Rick J. Bearfield, Johnson City, Tennessee, for the Appellees, Donald F. Bradford and Wendy L. Bradford

Judge: LEE

The issue presented in this lease dispute is whether the landlord or the tenant is responsible for payment of the costs of ad valorem real estate taxes and premiums for fire and extended coverage insurance. We hold that pursuant to the clear and unambiguous agreement of the parties, the tenant is responsible for the costs at issue. We therefore reverse the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCA


Thor Y. Urness, Melissa Ballengee Alexander, Nashville, TN, for Plaintiff/Appellant, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc.

Thomas W. Hardin, Patrick M. Carter, Columbia, TN, for Intervening Plaintiffs/Appellees, Mark L. (Beau) Cantrell, et al.


This appeal involves a corporate governance dispute. The plaintiffs, who are members of a Mississippi nonprofit corporation of which the defendant is also a member, held a special meeting in February of 2005 at which they voted to remove the defendant from his position as the highest ranking member of the corporation, in response to the defendant's actions at a meeting held in December of 2004. The plaintiffs filed a complaint in a Tennessee court seeking a temporary restraining order and injunctive relief prohibiting the defendant from acting in his former capacity, and attorneys' fees. The court granted a temporary restraining order against the defendant. The defendant filed a motion to dissolve the temporary restraining order, and to dismiss based upon the plaintiffs' failure to provide a copy of the complaint to, or obtain approval by, the corporation's governing body prior to suit, as set forth in the corporation's bylaws. Later, after a hearing on motions by both parties, the trial court dissolved the restraining order, found that none of the actions of the respective parties at the December or February meeting had any binding effect, and denied the defendant's motion to dismiss. The plaintiffs moved for attorneys' fees under the relevant Mississippi derivative action statute. After a hearing, the trial court found that, because of defects in their initial complaint, the plaintiffs were not properly before the court, but it allowed the plaintiffs to file a motion to intervene and an amended complaint. The trial court held another hearing and entered an order in which it allowed the plaintiffs to intervene and awarded them attorneys' fees under the Mississippi statute. The defendant filed a timely notice of appeal. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCA


Dr. Michael A. S. Guth, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, pro se Appellant

Michael L. Powell, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Suntrust Bank, Inc.


Michael A. S. Guth (Plaintiff) sued Suntrust Bank, Inc. (the Bank) for negligence and violation of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act of 1977, among other things, after the Bank debited $3,019.50, from Plaintiff's checking account to cover three money orders, later discovered to be counterfeit, that Plaintiff cashed at the Bank. The Bank filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, which the Trial Court granted. Plaintiff appeals to this Court. We affirm.


Court: TCA


Peter Alliman, Madisonville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Lauren Eugene Leslie

Clifford E. Wilson, Madisonville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Gene Leslie


The plaintiff, Lauren Eugene Leslie, fell down steps at his parents' home as he was carrying a toilet that he had removed from their "powder room." The plaintiff filed this suit against his father, Gene Leslie, alleging negligence. Both the plaintiff and his father testified at trial that the plaintiff fell because he tripped over a bowl of dog food that had been left on the steps by the defendant. This version of how the accident happened was at odds with a statement given by the defendant to an insurance adjuster one month after the accident. Following a bench trial, the court concluded that the plaintiff had failed to prove that his fall was caused by the bowl of dog food. The plaintiff appeals, challenging the trial court's credibility determinations and conclusion that causation had not been proven. We affirm.


Court: TCCA


Thomas E. Barger, pro se, Appellant

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; and Blind Akrawi, Assistant Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee

Judge: WITT

The petitioner, Thomas E. Barger, filed a 2006 Johnson County Criminal Court petition for habeas corpus relief from his 2005 guilty-pleaded, Knox County convictions of two counts of Class C robbery. The 2005 Knox County judgments appended to the petition showed that the petitioner, a Range I standard offender, was sentenced on each conviction to a term of five years to be served on probation. The judgments recite that the probationary sentences were to be served consecutively to each other. In the petition for habeas corpus, the petitioner claimed that his sentences were void because the judgment forms failed to include information relative to pretrial jail credits and failed to specify that the sentences were to be served consecutively to prior felony convictions. The habeas corpus court entered an order summarily dismissing the petition. We hold, as a matter of law, that pretrial jail credits do not accelerate the expiration date of a defendant's probationary sentence; therefore, the judgments of conviction are not void. We also conclude that pursuant to Charles G. Summers v. State, ___ S.W.3d ___, No. M2004-02806-SC-R11-HC (Tenn., Nashville, Jan. 23, 2007), the habeas corpus court did not err in dismissing the petition without the appointment of counsel and without a hearing. We affirm the order dismissing the petition.


Court: TCCA


Marty B. McAfee and Gerald Skahan, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Richard Odom

Michael E. Moore, Acting Attorney General and Reporter; Mark E. Davidson, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Robert Carter and Amy Weirich, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellant, State of Tennessee

Judge: MCLIN

The defendant, Richard Odom, filed a motion to access closed files in the Shelby County District Attorney's Office pursuant to the Tennessee Public Records Act, and the state opposed said motion. After two hearings on the matter, the trial court entered an order granting the defendant's ex parte motion for the trial court to view the state's file in camera for specific limited exculpatory material. We granted the state's Tennessee Rule of Appellate Procedure 10(a) application for extraordinary appeal to determine whether the trial court erred in granting the defendant's ex parte motion, requiring the state to relinquish its file for in camera inspection by the trial court. Upon our review of the record and due consideration of the issue, we reverse and vacate the trial court's order.


Court: TCCA


Samantha D. Reed, pro se

R. Mark Glover and Kristine L. Roberts of Memphis, Tennessee for Appellees, first Horizon National Bank, Mike Lowery, C. W. Rutledge, Kara Bradley, Matt Neel, Jerry Baker, the Money Center, First Tennessee Bank NA


Appellant challenges the trial court's order adopting the Report of the Special Master, dismissing her case, and authorizing foreclosure proceedings. We affirm.

DMRS Providers/DNR Orders

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-04-16

Opinion Number: 07-50

Cable Bill under the Contract Clause

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-04-16

Opinion Number: 07-51


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Legal News
McGinley talks on the record
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Read the interviews
Gonzalez hearing postponed; panel to subpoena aide
The Senate Judiciary Committee decided late yesterday to reschedule its hearing with Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez following news of a shooting rampage at Virginia Tech. The hearing is now set for Thursday. Meanwhile, the House Judiciary Committee is poised to vote on whether to issue a subpoena for Monica Goodling, a former Justice Department aide, to appear before the committee. Plans to vote on granting immunity for her testimony have been postponed for a week. has the AP story
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Follow news of the trial in the Commercial Appeal
DA responds to Wright deal
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Read Gibbons' response at WMC-TV Memphis
Chattanooga company accused of workers' comp infraction
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Business Week has more
Grand jury indicts Bowers
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Read more
Klan robe sent to Ford
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The Commercial Appeal has more
Radio firms settle payola suit
Four broadcasters, who had been under investigation for accepting cash and merchandise from record companies in exchange for airplay, settled charges in an unprecedented agreement that requires payment of a $12.5 million fine and employment of independent compliance officers to monitor business dealings.
Learn more in the Times News
Copyright judges reject Internet radio appeal
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Read the AP story in the Tennessean
CBA announces web site improvements
The Chattanooga Bar Association recently announced it has enhanced its web site to offer users a number of new services. Members will receive individualized passwords within the next week to log on to the site, which now offers daily announcements, downloadable versions of the CBA's weekly newsletter and memorial resolutions, and a photo gallery.
Visit the CBA website
Tanner has growing clout
U.S. Rep. John Tanner, whose district includes Raleigh, Frayser, parts of Millington and all of Tipton County, has a growing influence within the new Democratic House majority, according to colleagues in D.C. Read about his role as leader of the "Blue Dogs" in this
Commercial Appeal story
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